Dolan DNA Learning Center

Located in the village of Cold Spring Harbor, the Dolan DNA Learning Center is a center for public genetics education operated by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. A Georgian Revival elementary school was renovated to house an outreach program to teach students about molecular biology.

It is the largest single provider of biotechnology laboratory instruction at the pre-college level in the United States. It serves as a model for similar centers across the country and overseas.


Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Location Cold Spring Harbor, NY
Size 11,800 Sq. Ft.
Features renovation, addition
Program teaching laboratories, computer laboratory, broadcast studio, gallery space, offices
Year Completed 2001
Photo Credit Jeff Goldberg/Esto

The building was renovated and expanded in two phases. In Phase I the historic school was remodeled to provide modern laboratories, exhibit space, and a "multitorium" with state-of-the-art multimedia capabilities. The exterior was restored to be in keeping with the historic guidelines of the village. Hints of the building's current use are suggested through symbols of genetic research: exterior ramp posts resemble bands of DNA and interior torcherès are modeled after the double helix of DNA. The names of future Nobel Prize-winning biologists will be painted on the multitorium frieze.

Phase II, the BioMedia Addition, includes further renovations and an 11,000 square foot addition. The expansion houses a new lobby, teaching laboratories, a computer laboratory, a broadcast studio, expanded gallery space, and offices.